At the beginning of the month, I wrote about how important it is to shop locally and support retailers in our towns. I took the decision at the start of the year to do as much of our shopping as possible from independent businesses.
After five weeks, this is a reflection on how it has gone so far.
I was interested to see whether I spent more money shopping this way so I have recorded spending from individual businesses. On the whole, I am spending similar amounts to when I use the supermarket. However, I am now purchasing more organic food which would make that supermarket shop more expensive.
We have been lucky with the weather. Most of the month has been bright and dry. This has meant that I have walked or cycled which has helped reduce car use.
Using a local vegetable delivery service has made life easier. Without it, I would have to use the car more as I wouldn’t be able to carry as much home when I walk or cycle.
I worked out that by the time I have got in the car, driven to the car park, paid for parking or found a shopping trolley, the time extra time difference in walking or cycling is negligible. I am happier when I get home for the extra exercise thrown in.
It makes for a more personal shopping experience
I’ve got to know the staff better at the wholefood unit on the industrial estate. Much of the food the business sells has less packaging. Their own range of food comes in simple plastic bags which you can return for recycling. They also offer a refill service for bottles of washing up liquid, washing liquid etc which is a great plus. The bonus has been less single use packaging going into our home recycling bin.
The butcher in town has guided me on cuts of meat and I can check the quality before I buy. They stock eggs from a local farm and have other produce made in the area on sale. I have also found out that they sell mince for dog meat. I have started to make dog food so even the dog is getting a better diet!
Shopping this way has made for a more personal shopping experience talking to staff in the shops where they pass on tips and local news. Now all our food made from scratch, baking bread with organic flour and generally eating a healthier diet.
Combining a shopping trip in town with meeting a friend for coffee definitely feels like win/win – a treat to accompany a chore!
I have enjoyed the change in shopping habits.
It is something I hope to keep up although it does take a little extra time. I am lucky that working part-time means I have time to go out during the day. When I was working full-time and had a busier schedule, the longer evening opening hours offered by supermarkets made them convenient.
Who knows, maybe our town offering a late night shopping evening would be the way forward in future so that more people could pop in on the way home from work.